- Museum number
Cheese knife, 'Rundes Modell'; silvered alpacca, an alloy of copper, nickel and zinc; flat-ended blade; the handle slightly convex each side with rounded end.
- Production date
- 1906 (designed)
Length: 16.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- See also 1981,0606.1
See also 1981,0717.2
See also 1981,0717.1
Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection'. 2nd ed. no.124c.
Hoffmann trained under the architect Otto Wagner and worked alongside Olbrich in Wagner's studio. In 1899 he was appointed Professor at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, having joined the Vienna Secession in 1897. Both Mackintosh and Ashbee had a formative effect on Hoffmann, Mackintosh as the dominant artistic influence and Ashbee's Guild of Handicraft as a model on which to base a Viennese equivalent. But Hoffmann's Wiener Werkstatte, founded in 1903 with Koloman Moser, had, unlike Ashbee's Guild, strong financial backing, from the banker Fritz Warndorfer. Hoffmann designed furniture, metalwork, glass and ceramics for the Wiener Werkstatte, but remained a designer only and did not execute his designs himself. For the Wiener Werkstatte, see Schweiger, W., 'Wiener Werkstatte. Kunst und Handwerk 1903-1922, Vienna 1982, English ed. New York 1984 and Kallir, J., 'Viennese Design and the Wiener Werkstatte', London 1986.
The designs for the 'Rundes Modell' are discussed and illustrated in Neuwirth, W., 'Josef Hoffmann, Besteckefiir die Wiener Werkstatte', Vienna 1982, 73-127. The service was shown in the exhibition 'Der gedeckte Tisch' held by the Wiener Werkstatte in autumn 1906 (Deutsche Kunst & Dekoration xix, 1906, 473 and Neuwirth 1982, pls 10-11. See also pls 99, 100, 103-4, 112 for the items catalogued here). Many of the shapes, including the snail pick and the cheese knife, were designed in 1904 for Hoffmann's earlier 'Flaches Modell', where the handles are flat and have straight, beaded ends ( Noever, P. and Oberhuber, 0., Josef Hoffmann 1S70-1956, Ornament zwischen Hoffnung und Verbrechen, exhibition catalogue, Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Vienna 1987. Z29).
X-ray fluorescence analysis of the three pieces with no silver standard mark has shown that both the cheese knife and the crab fork are plated with a thick layer of silver. The plating on the fruit knife is thinner and the base-metal core contains copper, nickel and zinc, which would be consistent with alpacca, an alloy of these three metals. Alpacca was commonly used as a silver substitute at this date.
According to Neuwirth, (1982, 73) the silver pieces were made in the Wiener Werkstatte, but the silvered alpacca pieces were made for the Wiener Werkstatte by the firm of Bachmann & Co. If this is so, the appearance of the silversmith's mark on the silvered alpacca fruit knife is unusual. For a silvered alpacca 'Rundes Modell' service used in the Cabaret Fledermaus, see Vienna 1985, Historisches Museum, 'Traum und Wirklicheit. Wien um 1870-1930. no. 13/2/41, 361-2. For further literature and examples, see Franzke, I., 'Jugendstil', Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlesruhe, Bestandskatalog, 1987, no. 44.
The silversmith's monogram 'FK/KF' is not included in the Lexikon der Wiener Gold- und Silberschmiede (Neuwirth, W., 'Lexikon der Wiener Gold- und Silberscmiede', Vienna 1976-7), nor in the list of craftsmen's monograms in the Wiener Werkstatte 'Arbeitsprogmm' of 1905 (Neuwirth, W., 'Wiener Werkstate - Avantgarde, Art Deco, Industrial Design', Vienna 1984, 23-4) and remains unidentified (see 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950', Cat. 123). For the registered trade marks of the Wiener Werkstatte, i.e. the rose mark and the' ww' monogram (both registered in 1903), see Neuwirth, W., 'Die Schutzmarken der Wiener Werkstatte. Band I: Rosenmarke und Wortmarke', Vienna 1985, where it is noted that a chronology for the unframed 'ww' monogram (as it appears on these examples) is being prepared for a planned second volume on the trade marks.
Information supplementary to Rudoe 1994:
See also M. Collins, 'Towards Post-Modernism, Design since 1851', London, British Museum, revised ed. 1994, fig. 43.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1993 Sep 16-Nov 7, London, Crafts Council, Fine Metalwork
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number